MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University will induct five individuals and one team into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame this year. However, due to COVID-19, there will not be an in-person induction ceremony this year but these inductees will join the 2021 Homecoming celebration and induction.
One selection this year is Mike Santorelli.
“I am extremely honored and proud to have been inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame,” said Santorelli. “Northern Michigan was an instrumental part of both my personal life and hockey career. A program which provided the necessary guidance, development and coaching to excel both on and off of the ice and ultimately fulfill my childhood dream of having a career in the National Hockey League”.
Santorelli was a three-year letter-winner for NMU where he played 121 games and scored 61 goals with 49 assists for 110 points. He also recorded 22 power play goals. His first year, the 2004-05 season, he tallied 16 goals and 14 assists then followed it with 15 goals and 18 assists. His third season saw him score 30 goals, 11 coming off the power play. He also added 17 assists. His 2006-07 season saw him earn First Team All-CCHA after earning a spot on the All-CCHA Rookie Team.
“I am extremely blessed and grateful to have played with not only elite level hockey players but first-class teammates as well throughout my time at NMU,” he said. “Northern Michigan will always be a special place to me and one where memories, friendships and experiences will last a life time.”
After his junior season, he signed with the Nashville Predators which began a 10-year professional career. He started with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League from 2008-10 and appeared in 150 games with 48 goals and 64 assists while making 32 appearances with the Predators in the National Hockey League.
“I’ve been around the program a long time, as a player, assistant coach and a head coach and I’ve never coached a better person than Mike,” his head coach, Walt Kyle said.
“I’ve never seen a better goal scorer, never had a more dominant player than he was. He was at the level of the very best we’ve ever had here.” “He came here at a young age and developed very quickly,” Kyle continued. “He had the ability to take over and absolutely control a game. If he would have played his senior year I have no doubt he would have been a great threat to challenge the single season goal record.”
He moved on to the Florida Panthers for the next seasons and finished with a total of 29 goals and 23 assists while appearing in 142 games. During the 2011-12 season, Santorelli helped the Panthers reach the NHL playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons.
After playing four games in Sweden, he returned to the Panthers for 24 games. He then spent seven games with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL before playing 10 games for the Winnipeg Jets. The 2013-24 season saw him make 49 appearances with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring 10 goals with 18 assists.
The next year he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and tallied 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games before returning to the Predators for 22 games. In 2015-16, he finished his NHL career with 70 games for the Anaheim Ducks where he recorded nine goals and nine assists. His professional career came to a close during the 2016-17 season after six games with the Geneve Servette squad, a member of the Switzerland National League A.
During his professional career, he amassed 64 goals with 74 assists in over 400 games played. After retiring from hockey, Santorelli has settled in Burnaby, British Columbia where he continued his education at the University of British Columbia and obtained his degree in Urban Land Economics.
He also serves as the Head Coach of the U-18 Prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy. He also created Santorelli Hockey Development alongside his brother, Mark, which focuses on providing player development in the greater Vancouver area.
“I think first of all, any time you are inducted into a Hall of Fame, it’s a great honor. Mike comes from a close family, a proud family,” said Kyle.
“They know the role NMU played in his life and career and know the honor it is to be inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame. His teammates and everyone that was around him know what a great player he was and certainly all of us knew he’d be inducted. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ he’d be inducted, it was a matter of ‘when’. I was blessed to be associated with him.”